Submitted Proposals

Organization: Internet Governance Caucus
Title :
77. Internet for All - Exploring a Rights-based Approach
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Internet for All is the proposed theme for the IGF, Hyderabad and is adapted from UNESCO’s ‘Education for All’ initiative. ’Education for All’ takes a rights based approach to education and presents nuanced view the enabling conditions for providing education for all ( ) . The proposed “Internet for All—Exploring a Rights-based Approach” workshop will explore what a ‘Rights-based’ approach to Internet for All (including other related concepts such as e-Inclusion and ‘Universal Service’) would mean and whether it could provide the basis for Internet policy in this area.

Universal service and universal access are widely accepted telecom policy principles. However, these are less clear in area of the Internet where the Internet involves areas of much more active ‘use’ and multi-layered types of interaction and development than the simple connection’ with the telephone. To mention only one aspect of this a draft resolution recommended for ECOSOC by the 11th session of the CSTD recently noted that ‘a new form of digital divide is emerging in terms of difference in quality and speed of access to ICTs’ (the OECD has also been grappling with definitional issues regarding universal access in terms of the Internet ).

Other issues to be explored from a ‘rights’ perspective include a determination of the enabling conditions for realizing effective use of the available ‘access’ and the characteristics of the Internet to which one has access. A rights based approach to “Internet for All’ or what may be referred to as a ‘right to the Internet’ may include issues that go beyond mere access as for example the enabling conditions such as training, capacity building and the development of the social, organizational, and managerial infrastructure that can make access meaningful and useful. The “Education for All’ movement recognizes that conditions such as these are pertinent to ensuring education for all beyond simple access to schools..

This corresponds to quality and appropriateness of the substantive content and presentation of the Internet – language including use of non-Roman scripts are of particular significance here and correspond in the ‘education for all’ context to what is spoken of in a recent UNESCO document as ‘the right to learn in the mother tongue’ (

The WSIS declaration of Principles speaks of an “information society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information”. Does this translate into a right to do so? What would be the implications of a right on Internet policies, for instance with respect to the network neutrality debate. Similarly, issues such as online security, privacy and FoE may be possible to explore from a rights perspective in the context of the possible significance in enabling or restricting an ‘Internet for all’.

A further set of issues more directly linked to an e-Inclusion definition of ‘Internet for all’ would include groups needing special consideration such as people with disabilities, whose right to access to ‘new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet’ as is recognized by the recently concluded ‘International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’.

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

Conducted by

Ms. Anita Gurumurthy - IT for Change

  • Ms. Radhika Lal United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Ms. Valeria Betancourt Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
  • Mr. Ravi Shankar Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India
  • Mr. Abdul Waheed Khan - United Nations Educationl, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  • Dr. Michael Gurstein - Global Telecentre Alliance (GTA) & Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN)
  • Mr. Brian Longwe Kenya ICT Action Network
  • Ms. Katerina Batzeli European Union Parliament member

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus, supported by IT for Change, Telecommunities Canada, Bill of Rights Coalition; Association For Progressive Communications.

UNESCO is a co-sponsor of the workshop

Government of India has shown keen interest in this workshop and we are in discussions with regard to the nature of their partnership.

We are also discussing the involvement of a few other stakeholder groups for being co-organizers of the workshop.

Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?

The issue of a rights agenda throws up multiple perspectives and the intention is to have different voices offering different perspectives on the issue.

We are in discussions to see how speakers from diverse positions and perspectives can participate in the workshop.

Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

The workshop addresses the overall theme of IGF, Hyderabad, which is proposed to be ‘Internet for all’, seeking to explore what implications does such a value or broad principle has for Internet policies. It opens up a debate on whether a rights-based framework for access to and effective use of the Internet could provide a framework for policies in this area. The Tunis agenda proposed the IGF as such a policy dialogue forum where such debates should take place. This dialogue is especially important in terms of sub-para (2) of para 72 which sets out one of the mandate of the IGF as to ‘Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world’. Exploring a rights-based framework to Internet policies is also important in the context of the fact that ‘development’ remains a key focus of the IGF, and most UN organizations dealing with ‘development’ areas like the UNDP, UNESCO, UNIFEM, UNICEF, WHO etc are increasingly taking a rights-based approach to many core and critical development issues.

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.

Many of the organizations co-organizing this workshop have participated and organized similar events and workshops including at Athens and Rio.

Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?

IGC was a co-organizer in the workshop on 'Role and Mandate of IGF' at Rio. A workshop report was submitted and available.

Both APC and IT for Change have been organising workshops regularly at IGFs. Workshop reports have also been sumitted for all these workshops.